Even now, in a world where medical advances continue to grow and expand, TMJ Disorder still stands as a widely misunderstood and highly complex dental health condition; however, a recent study regarding painful jaw problems and chronic pain has shed some light on treating and preventing the disorder.
The study, which was published in the Journal of Pain, is the first of its kind and revolves around new treatments, prevention, and predictions for patients who may suffer from TMJ or constant facial pain. The study, known as the Orofacial Pain Prospective Evaluation and Risk Assessment study (OPPERA), began with 3,200 subjects between the ages of 18-44, all of which were determined to be pain free. Each subject was followed for 3-5 years and, by the end of this time frame, the study found that aging women had an increase in chronic pain that could be linked to TMJ. The pain was most commonly reported during childbearing years.
Aside from gender and age, the study also determined that certain genetic factors play a role in chronic TMJ and chronic pain. Results also showed that certain psychological and biological factors also contributed to TMJ diagnosis, as patients who are more sensitive to pain may be more likely to suffer from TMJ.
More Research Is Required
While this study definitely sheds new light on TMJ and constant pain, the article in which it was published only reveals the bite as being a symptom of TMJ rather than being a potential cause of the condition. Though TMJ can be caused by trauma, when diagnosing and treating the condition, analysis of the bite is critical.
Patients and health professionals alike should note that TMJ is a complex disorder that requires a multi-pronged approach to achieve successful diagnosis and treatment. This means that collaboration between dentists and other practitioners is usually warranted. If you are interested in learning more about TMJ, contact Dr. Berry’s office. Dr. Berry will carefully analyze your bite to determine the cause of your TMJ symptoms. To end your chronic jaw or facial pain, call or email Dr. Berry’s office today.